Never let up.
“It’s something that we’ve taken more pride in this year, making sure we finish games out, that we don’t leave a whole lot of time on the clock,” offensive guard Nick Marshman said. “Make sure we take care of the ball and get the first downs that we need.”
The 17th-ranked Hokies get another chance to do that against Boston College on Saturday night with one major advantage. Quarterback Matt Ryan, who led the comeback, is in the NFL with the Atlanta Falcons and Chris Crane took his place.
“This is what you sign up for when you sign up to play college football,” Crane said. “It’s a night game, the place is going to be rocking and I get to talk to old friend Matt Ryan again. … We’ve talked recently and we keep in touch.”
Maybe Ryan can provide some tips on how he spearheaded the comeback by the Eagles, ranked second at the time, against the Hokies, then ranked eighth.
Virginia Tech led 10-0 at home last October before Ryan threw a 16-yard touchdown pass to Rich Gunnell with 2:11 left in the game. Then BC recovered an onside kick and Ryan directed another scoring drive, capped by his 24-yard touchdown pass to Andre Callender with 11 seconds remaining.
“I bet I’ve seen that play several times,” Virginia Tech coach Frank Beamer said. “You’d better play every play.”
His defensive players watched the end of the game Monday.
But the Hokies (5-1, 2-0 ACC) won’t have to contend with Ryan. Instead, the Eagles (4-1, 1-1) have Crane, who struggled early in the season then ran for three touchdowns in BC’s last game, a 38-31 win at N.C. State.
“I’m not saying he’s Matt Ryan,” Hokies defensive end Orion Martin said, “but he’s doing a great job up there so far. We can’t take him lightly. Throwing the ball, he looks a lot like Ryan.”
Virginia Tech is coming off its fifth straight win, 27-13 over Western Kentucky. The Hokies and Eagles both were idle last weekend.
Boston College has won three in a row since a 19-16 loss to Georgia Tech and has progressed by “leaps and bounds” since then, coach Jeff Jagodzinski said.
“We have come together. I know more about this team than obviously I knew at the beginning of the season. I thought the N.C. State game helped us in that way.”
Virginia Tech’s offense and defense are both ranked much lower than last year. Tyrod Taylor has emerged as the starting quarterback and is a big threat to run as well as pass. He threw to nine receivers in his last game.
“Taylor, their quarterback, is an unbelievable football player,” BC linebacker Mike McLaughlin said. “He can make stuff happen when you don’t think anything will go.”